In light of these events, is the sedition case of Sidhu fair? HW News brings you reactions from across political parties and opinion makers.
Congress leader and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu was slapped with a sedition case on Monday by a lawyer in Bihar for insulting the Indian Army after he hugged Pakistan’s army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa at the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan as Pakistan’s prime minister.
Sudhir Kumar Ojha, known for indicting celebrities, alleged in his petition filed with Muzaffarpur’s chief judicial magistrate (CJM) Hari Prasad that Sidhu insulted the families of Indian soldiers killed by Pakistan’s army and terrorists sponsored by the country by hugging General Bajwa and sitting next to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir’s president Masood Khan on Saturday.
Ojha said it was unbecoming of Sidhu to attend the celebrations in the neighbouring country at a time when the nation was mourning the death of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Worse, he said, his actions there put India on a low beside causing insult to the brave Indian soldiers like Lance Naik Paramjeet Singh, whose body was mutilated by the Pakistan army in Kashmir last year.
Sidhu attending Imran Khan’s swearing-in has already evoked sharp criticism and furore from across the political spectrum. Ruling BJP slammed Congress while several others took it to social media to express their displeasure over the meet. Even Punjab CM Capt. Amarinder Singh called Sidhu’s action wrong.
However, there are few who believe Sidhu’s actions opened a door for soft diplomacy between India and Pakistan. In light of these events, does the sedition case of Sidhu fair? HW News brings you reactions from across political parties and opinion makers.
Kumar Ketkar, Rajyasabha MP, Congress:
“If any case of Sedition is to be filed against him than before that it should be filed against Prime Minister Narendra Modi because he was the first person to hug the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif and just when the terrorist attacks were going on. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with what Mr Navjot Singh has done and if we analyse Mr Imran Khan’s speech, what Mr Imran seek is peace & dialogue with India so I don’t find anything wrong in the visit and whoever wishes to charge him (Navjot Singh Siddhu) of sedition should first think of charging Mr Narendra Modi first.”
Al Nasser Zakaria, Congress Spokesperson:
“When our Prime Minister visits Pakistan he hugs the Prime Minister there if that is acceptable to the nation than why are eyebrows being raised when Mr Navjot Singh Siddhu did the same. There are more important issues that our country is facing today why aren’t we discussing that instead, people are worried about insignificant issues like such, will this issue help the country’s economy? will this create more jobs? will this improve our relationship with Pakistan? will our borders be safe? in my opinion, they are making a mountain out of a molehill, this is a trivial issue and when Mr Narendra Modi stops hugging people only then will we speak to Mr Siddhu on this.”
Nawab Malik, NCP Spokesperson:
“Any minister of the centre or the state visiting abroad require a political clearance from the PMO. Mr Navjot Singh Siddhu is a minister in Punjab government and he had applied for a political clearance from the PMO before the visit and the clearance was provided to him when a clearance was provided how can one term this visit unlawful or any question could be raised on this visit. As far as the controversial hug between Mr Siddhu and the Pakistani army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa is concerned Mr Qamar Javed Bajwa in his official statement addressing to this particular controversy has clarified it to be a friendly embrace and a gesture to the talks of opening up of Gurudwara route and so has been confirmed by Mr Siddhu. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has started this gesture of hugging eminent people abroad and Mr Siddhu now seems to be stepping into his shoes and I don’t see anything wrong in this.”
Sudheendra Kulkarni, activist, advocate of Indo-Pak solidarity:
“I warmly welcome Mr Navjot Singh Siddhu’s visit to Pakistan for the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan and there is nothing improper about him embracing the Pakistan’s Army Chief it is a friendly gesture and the statement issued by Pakistan’s Army Chief General, Mr Bajwa said to Mr Navjot Singh Siddhu is also significant because he says that Pakistan wishes good & peaceful relations with India so I welcome it and for me there isn’t any sedating about this event.”
Madhav Bhandari, BJP Spokesperson:
“Mr Navjot Singh Siddhu has crossed the limit of diplomacy which he should have maintained when he visited Pakistan for the swear-in ceremony. Whether he was authorized by the government of India, his own party congress is not known to one now on this matter the Congress party has to come clean if he (Mr Navjot Singh Siddhu) was authorized or not. After the swearing-in ceremony was over, Imran Khan has censored our Deputy High Commission in Pakistan so they are very much clear about their own intentions and enmity about India but people like Mr. Navjot Singh Siddhu who doesn’t have any political standing and a person who doesn’t have any authority in any particular field why should a person like him be stepping into such a sensitive matter. I won.t be able to comment on Sedation at this juncture but if people are demanding it then it has to be checked on with utmost Importance.”